Thursday, 1 June 2006

The Rise of the Neocons, the Moral Majority and the Gipper

Neoconservatism is rooted in the old stomping ground of Democratic America, that is the east coast liberal havens of Boston and New York; it is mostly Jewish, non-Ivy League and utterly modernist; shaped by traditional liberal values. Its aim is to repair the damage done to American society by liberal overreach and provide, for the first time, an intellectual framework for a conservative agenda.

The Moral Majority used to be firmly in the camp of the Democrats, Christian Evangelicals were bedfellows of the donkey rather than the elephant (Carter won a large proportion of his votes from the Christian Right) but the constant leftward drift of the Democrats alienated them as much as it did the neocons and a formidable enemy was stirred into action, made even more formidable by the rise in Evangelical churches and a decline in the Presbyterian and Episcopal faiths. It has been an enemy that the Democrats have struggled with ever since.

Add to these two forces the loss of the South to the GOP and the Western Sun Belt becoming fervent Republican territory, all it needed was an individual to harness this mighty force into Executive power; that man was President Ronald Reagan.

The Gipper was a genuine outsider to the political machine and the first one to embody modern American conservatism, strange, considering that for most of his life he was a self-confessed “near haemophiliac liberal” who worshipped FDR and spent many years as a trade union boss. But with a loathing of big government, a desire to smite communism and a record of voting that pleased the religious right he, rather than Nixon, could pull the strands of conservative America together.

Reagan laid the platform for conservatism as the dominant force in US politics by winning the Cold War and establishing a hegemony, destroying organised labour and union bargaining rights, increasing military spending, aggressive tax cuts to boost the economy and changing the face of the Supreme Court to be more right-leaning.

Upon closer inspection his record in office had its weak spots, he didn’t cut public spending but managed to reduce taxes and left the US $1.5 trillion in debt (sound familiar George W?), policy was guided by the stars as much as the neocons and for all the lip service, Reagan was a secular man who cared little for Moral Majority issues like abortion. But, with the neocons and Religious Right on board, the South and West of the country sown up and a charismatic front man serving two terms all was looking good.

And then came Clinton…

11 comments:

  1. Actually, although it may seem like a logical progression, Reagan was not part of the neocon movement although he did usher conservatism back into the country. There were some things he did right, some he did wrong, but he was a different animal entirely. He would never have sanctioned the imposition upon our liberties that is currently taking place.

    It could be argued that Reagan may have unlocked the door to some things that should have been left locked up. Bush Sr. opened the door a crack. Bill Clinton did little to nothing to close that door. And GW flung the door open wide.

    The truth is, there IS no politician that I've been enchanted with since Reagan. And looking back on Reagan, I see that he was more flawed than the way that many of us viewed him at that time.

    Never the less, he actually couldn't stand Bush Sr., and very reluctantly named him as a running partner. I wish he'd followed his instincts and chosen someone else, because that is the direct cause for our having the current Bush in office.

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  2. I'm with Saur. It was Bush Sr., a country club blue blood Repub that began the unraveling of the Reagan doctrine. The "country-clubbers" were very wary of Reagan (remember Reagan's failure to get the nod in 1976). It is no surprise that Bush 43 is continuing what his dad began, and if he gets his way, I think he'll push the conservatives out from the Repubs (eg the immigration issue). I think if Jeb runs, he'll continue the longstanding family tradition. This is why there is talk of starting a new political party in America that is truly conservative.

    A side note: It's interesting that Bush 41 hangs with Clinton all the time. The two are not that far apart politically.

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  3. OMR: Clinton is coming...all over my face...

    Saur: perhaps my writing caused confusion, I never said he was part of the neo-con movement; Gipper was too un-intellectual for that, but an excellent front man for the three pronged force that is American conservatism (neo-cons, moral majority and the liberterians) just as I think Bush jnr is a useful foil for the movement.

    UL: we will come to CLinton very soon, I think you'll like what I write about him!

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  4. Ah, Clinton...the first election I participated in. I was 10 when Reagan was elected, and endured eight years of being asked if I was the president's daughter by stupid fuckers who can't spell or understand how vowels work when placed next to each other. But I digress.

    I've never been all that bright when it comes to figuring out politics because I guess I don't really care; so many of them seem to be hypocrates. I'll just never forget the Gennifer Flowers controversy when Clinton was in the race and then the Monica Lewinsky bullshit. So he fucked around with other women. What president didn't fuck interns?

    Recently I bought a button/pinback which says, "Will someone please give Bush a blowjob so we can impeach him".....I've thought for a long time that if somebody would just get a picture of him being serviced by a young, dark-skinned male, our troubles would be over.

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  5. I like Denise's plan. I think it would definately work.

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  6. I know some people will be surprised that I say this, but I liked Reagan. He did a lot of good things. He screwed up a few things, too. I think the same about Clinton. They were educated men. They were good men. I'm not sure the moral majority is either.

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  7. Clinton accomplished for the right, what they couldn't do themselves, end welfare as we knew it.

    His economic policy was laissez-faire.


    Regards.

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  8. Hey, Daniel...
    Check this out. This is a set I did a couple months ago. The crowd wasn't very large, maybe 30 or 40? Right before the show a bus pulled up and dropped them off. They were all people that lost their houses in Katrina and they were all black. Wouldn't normally matter, but in this case it sort of does. Tell me what you think knowing me as you do.

    http://www.jeffthecomic.com/jtc_v_clips_v5.php

    By the way, I still would like to see a video of bouncers if you have one.

    Keep on keepin' on.
    Until some other time...

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  9. I would do but my PC blocks embedded content, any chance of emailing the file to me?

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  10. American imperialism doesn't recognise left, right, god, devil, or other constricting regulatory conceptions.

    All the American mind can fathom is brutality for gain, the basest, most prevalent denominator of the ignoble beasts in men's shapes known as common trash.

    For all its might and majesty, Rome was a cultural wasteland, mimicking Greece, which lost its ability to produce the rich mythology and cultural philosophy which flows from indigenous people, and characterises who they express themselves to be.

    Likewise, the American personality is devoid of original content, raised on a vapid diet of emotional neglect and cultural deprivation. As it is said, power needs no reason.

    So let's just abandon our fear and loathing of the behemoth. Any perpetrator of any American act is merely the head of a snake which does not need to be slain, for, in lieu of a clue, it will forget to feed itself and starve on the vine.

    This is why the glorious Canadian dollar is almost at par with their asswipe greenback, even after their 200 BILLION dollar trade war of the past 2 years.

    In the end, they're a bunch of self-important boys pushing the other kids around the playground. And how are we taught to treat bullies?

    Let's just walk away.

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